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Tributes paid to speedway mechanic who died following a karting accident

Len Smart

Tributes have been paid to a speedway and go karting mechanic who died following an accident in Hampshire on the 5th of July. Len Smart was marshalling a karting race at Forest Edge Kart Club, near Andover, when a vehicle spun off the track, causing him severe head injuries.

The 79-year-old fought for life for days after the crash, but died at Poole Hospital on July 17.His son Jamie said: “Dad was always there for us all and nothing was ever too much trouble for him, from driving us to the airport to feeding the cats and walking the dogs.

“He never said no because his family and friends were the things he treasured the most and we all treasured him too.”

Mr Smart, who was born in Poole and lived there all his life, was a well-known face in the stands at Poole Stadium, and for many years, alongside his long term friend Len Bunter, he worked as pit crew for his son Jamie.

An avid motor sports enthusiast, he later took on in the same role for his other sons Paul and David when they took up rally driving.

Paul said: “No matter what the weather, Dad and Len, our pit crew, made sure we always finished each rally, and the cars were put back together again for the next one.”

For the past 14 years Mr Smart worked as a race marshal at Forest Edge, and in 2012 he won the title Marshal of the Year at the British Motorsports Marshals Club. Many members of Forest Edge took to Facebook to express their grief at the news, and on August 5 an announcement paying tribute to Mr Smart was made at Poole Speedway.

Earlier this month, the Forest Edge raced with an specially-designed orange striped livery in memory of their former marshal’s jumpsuit, and other karting clubs around the country held a memorial silence or wore orange strips as a mark of respect.

A great dog-lover, Mr Smart volunteered for the Friends of Wessex Assisting Dogs for many years. The charity’s secretary, Carole Cluett, said: “We would like to give public thanks to Len Smart who was a stalwart volunteer and friend.

“Our thoughts are with his family, and our thanks for sharing him with us.”

He leaves his wife Jean, children, seven grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.